Daily Pioneer reports
The long-standing demand for an ESIC Medical College and Hospital at Rourkela has now found a ray of hope after the Odisha High Court’s intervention on a PIL filed by a group of eminent personalities including an NRI.
Hearing the petition on July 28, Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice BN Mohapatra were not only shocked over State Government’s decision ignoring the basic criteria, ie, number of IPs, directed the State Labour Secretary to submit the status report within two weeks. The court also ordered service of notice by speed post to the Union Labour Secretary and DG, ESIC to submit the status report in two weeks’ time and stop work at the Bhubaneswar site till further orders.
In a media briefing at the Rourkela Press Club on Saturday, Convenor of the Action Committee for ESIC Medical College and Hospital at Rourkela Muralidhar Parija said after knowing about the decision of ESIC to set up a Medical College and Hospital in Odisha at a cost of `1,600 crore in September 2009, it was assumed that Rourkela would be the suitable place for the project from IPs’ (Insured Persons’) point of view as also from geographical point of view. But that was not to happen, he deplored.”The babus and the Ministers at the steering wheel of State affairs in Bhubaneswar took a decision to the contrary to set it up at Bhubaneswar though the State capital is over-saturated with a number of medical colleges and big nursing homes while other mega healthcare projects are in the pipeline from the Railway and the AIIMS,” he said.
Parija said, “Reacting to the sadistic and short-sighted decision, the elite masses including NRIs urged for shifting the venue to Rourkela. Several representations to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and the Labour Minister it had no impact although out of 2.5 lakh IPs in the State more than 1.3 lakh are in Sundargarh district and its adjacent areas. Even due to various ongoing projects, every month 7-10 thousand new IPs are adding to the number here.” Therefore, he said, finding no other way, the action committee had to knock at the High Court’s door with a PIL on July 25 making the Labour Secretary, Government of India, Director General, ESIC, New Delhi, Labour Secretary, Government of Odisha and the Regional Director, ESIC, Bhubaneswar opposite parties.
Among others Rourkela Chamber President Shyamlal Singhal, CITU leader Biman Maity, Rourkela Bar Association President Ramesh Bal, Joint Secretary Raj Kishore Pradhan, former MLA Prabhat Mohapatra, Rourkela Development Committee Convener Subrat Patnaik, social activists PC Nayak, Surendra Dash and Jahangir Alli were present, expressing their solidarity with the cause. Advocate Aseem Amitav Dash is pleading the case for the petitioners.